Remembering Uzza

15 One Down, Two to Go

(2.6 draft)

Bob: After the defeat at Uhud, and a lesson learned, what did the Prophet do?

Uzza: He went looking for a scapegoat. Muhammad, on returning to Medina with his troops, marched on the fortified neighborhood of the Banu Nadr accusing them of being complicit in the defeat of the Muslims at Uhud. They would not come out to meet him in battle, so he did what before would have been unthinkable. To impress upon them that they had no future in Medina, alive or dead, he destroyed much of Medina's date palms.

Bob: Why would the Banu Nadr have cared?

Uzza: It was their date palms. It was their livelihood that Muhammad destroyed.

Archie: And Allah agreed with that.

Uzza: Yes, to destroy such a valuable crop on an oasis in the middle of a desert - Medina is still referred to as the oasis city - had some Arabs up in arms, prompting Allah to send a revelation saying that He had authorized the destruction of whatever trees Muhammad deemed necessary.

Gerry: Why attack the Banu Nadr and not the Banu Qurayzah since they had to represent an equal if not a an even greater threat, or why not attack both?

Uzza: Muhammad, to use a cliché, never bit off more than he could chew. If the Banu Nadr and Banu Qurayzah had acted in concert they could have resisted the believers if not completely overwhelmed them, especially since not an insignificant portion of the Arab population of Medina would have joined them. But they could not agree among themselves, let alone agree to form an alliance to save their lives.

With their livelihood gone, the Banu Nadir agreed to go into exile. Muhammad allowed them to take with them whatever their camels could carry. That left only the Banu Qurayzah of the three Jewish tribes of Medina that had ensured the survival of Islam.